"The Muslims Are Coming!"


The “mosque menace” is not confined to Lower Manhattan or the USA. In many European countries similar alarms are being sounded, usually in tones recalling Paul Revere: “The Muslims are coming!”

Although according to Sarkozy in France, Berlusconi in Italy and the militarized neo-fascist Jobbik Party in Hungary the danger is more from the Roma people (also called Gypsies), more often than not it’s those scary Muslims who are seen as the most menacing threat. Yes, we better watch out! Switzerland had its referendum against minarets, bleached-blond rabble-rouser Wilders won third place for his “Hate Islam” party in the Netherlands and now bar-room battlers in Germany are being called upon to struggle against the Turks and any or all of their Islamic fellow-religionists.

The best-known crusader for Germanic purity at the moment is Thilo Sarrazin, no typical rabble-rouser, but rather a finely dressed, proper looking Prussian-type banker, with bristly mustache and a slightly drooping right eye. To the embarrassment of some of its leaders, he has long been a member of the Social Democratic Party, and for years was minister of finance in the city-state of Berlin.

In those days his righteous anger was not focused against immigrant groups but against “lower castes” in general, and he wielded sharp scissors against social programs. Since Berlin has been heavily in debt for years, this was long accepted as unpleasant necessity. His notoriety began with comments that the jobless should be satisfied with the dole money they got, or even less. A sausage and some sauerkraut made a good, inexpensive dinner, he pointed out, and as for heating, he argued that “…people should consider whether they can’t get along at home quite sensibly with 15-16 degrees (c. 60 degrees Fahrenheit) by putting on a heavy sweater.”

He insisted that pensions should really be cut, not raised, and people should take care of pension problems privately, with as little government aid as possible. As for families, he inquired: “How can I arrange things so that only those people get children who can manage with them. Some women get two, three or more children even though they lack the “where-with-all” or the “personal characteristics” to see to their education. That means that the social system must be altered “so people are not able to improve their standard of living simply by having children, as is the case today.”

All too gradually, Sarrazin became impossible as a Social Democratic minister in a city-state government, especially when the Left Party joined to form a coalition. Therefore he was kicked upstairs into an extremely remunerative job on the top floor of the Federal Bank, a cousin of the American Federal Reserve bank. Before leaving he fired off a final salvo indicating his new field of endeavor. In an interview targeting especially the three to four million people in Germany with a Turkish background, he asserted: “I don’t have to recognize anyone who lives off this state, but rejects this state, and who doesn’t properly care for the education of his children while constantly producing more little girls to wear headscarves.”

Quite understandably, the Turkish population, citizens and non-citizens, of first, second or third generation, pointed out indignantly that it was they who had done much of the heavy, dirty work in rebuilding West Germany, often at low pay, and who now, in countless cases, were moving into a wide variety of trades and professions. The fact that all too many were still caught in semi-slums, received only second or third- class education and were rejected when job-hunting, with all the consequences, was not completely their fault. And many were making real contributions to society.

But Sarrazin stepped up his attacks, saying, “The Turks are conquering Germany, just like the Kosovars conquered Kosovo, with a higher birthrate.” He extended his attacks to the many more recent Arab immigrants: “Since Arab boys can’t make out with their Arab girls they use easier-to-get lower-class German girls, whom they then despise for being so easy to make out with.”

At the same time he attacked Turkish men for allegedly not marrying in Germany but instead importing illiterate Turkish women. He insisted that Muslims were less intelligent, and that their increasing numbers posed a threat to the general intelligence level in Germany. All of this was clearly aimed at building on and increasing existing prejudices and getting groups to look down upon or hate each other.

The unions opposed him, his Social Democratic Party also picked up the criticisms, though an attempt to expel him from his Berlin party group was unsuccessful. His new institution, the Federal Bank, cautiously criticized him for engaging in political statements which had nothing to do with banking, but kept him on in his high managerial position.

Now Theo Sarrazin has published a book, “Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab” (Germany Does Away with Itself”), which warns in dire terms that unless German women hurry up and have more children, the country will be overrun and ruled by Muslims in a number of decades. He claims that there are such things as Jewish genes, which he praises, and Turkish genes, which are responsible for the lower intelligence rates. Most leaders of the Jewish Congregation objected to any such references to “Jewish genes” and were highly critical, but some members joined in attacks against the Muslims.

The book was publicized across the media with talk shows, reprints and debates. Some, as in the Springer Press (similar to Murdoch’s media empire), were highly appreciative and reprinted long excerpts, while others were highly critical. With all the publicity, the first edition sold out immediately.

The SDP is still debating what to do about him (while one of its most prominent “wise men”, former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, expressed barely-disguised affirmation, saying, “If he had expressed himself a little less crudely, I could have agreed with much of what he said.”

Therein lies the true danger of a Thilo Sarrazin: Not in any imagined Muslim rule some day (a totally ridiculous idea when confronted by the facts), but rather that so very many Germans have been infected by the bacteria of nationalism and xenophobia, fearing or hating anything new or strange to them. Such feelings, all too common all over Europe and North America, but have an especially sinister tradition in Germany, especially in times of depression, which can occur or re-occur almost anytime. Seventy years ago the menace was supposedly the “Jewish danger”. Now it’s Muslims.

Two very different reactions should not be overlooked. Gesine Lötzsch, co-president of the Left Party, insisted that a man with such views was “intolerable in such a public position.” The same party’s delegate in the Bundestag, Sevim Dagdelen, herself from an immigrant background, denounced Sarrazin’s “racist tirades.” Saying, “It is unacceptable that a managing member of the Federal Bank spreads such poison which splits society,” she went on to call on the SDP to “do something at last and expel Sarrazin from their party.” Dagdelen compared his views with those of the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD).

Sure enough, the neo-Nazi internet bloggers were quick to voice support for Sarrazin. With an anti-Muslim group called PRO Berlin making plans to enter next year’s elections in the capital city, and with growing ties forming with racist, anti-Muslim groups in many countries, the call for opposition to Thilo Sarrazin and his propaganda has gained dramatic urgency.

VICTOR GROSSMAN is an expat American journalist who lives in has lived in Germany for most of the last 60 years. For more information about him see the article by ThisCantBeHappening writer Linn Washington at: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/184

More articles by:

Victor Grossman writes the Berlin Bulletin, which you can subscribe to for free by sending an email to: wechsler_grossman@yahoo.de.

March 20, 2019
Elliot Sperber
Empedocles and You and Me 
March 19, 2019
Paul Street
Socialism Curiously Trumps Fascism in U.S. Political Threat Reporting
Jonah Raskin
Guy Standing on Anxiety, Anger and Alienation: an Interview About “The Precariat”
Patrick Cockburn
The Brutal Legacy of Bloody Sunday is a Powerful Warning to Those Hoping to Save Brexit
Robert Fisk
Turning Algeria Into a Necrocracy
John Steppling
Day of Wrath
Robin Philpot
Truth, Freedom and Peace Will Prevail in Rwanda
Victor Grossman
Women Marchers and Absentees
Binoy Kampmark
The Dangers of Values: Brenton Tarrant, Fraser Anning and the Christchurch Shootings
Jeff Sher
Let Big Pharma Build the Wall
Jimmy Centeno
Venezuela Beneath the Skin of Imperialism
Jeffrey Sommers – Christopher Fons
Scott Walker’s Failure, Progressive Wisconsin’s Win: Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic Party Convention
Steve Early
Time for Change at NewsGuild?
March 18, 2019
Scott Poynting
Terrorism Has No Religion
Ipek S. Burnett
Black Lives on Trial
John Feffer
The World’s Most Dangerous Divide
Paul Cochrane
On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle
Dean Baker
The Fed and the 3.8 Percent Unemployment Rate
Thomas Knapp
Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark
Binoy Kampmark
Death in New Zealand: The Christchurch Shootings
Mark Weisbrot
The Reality Behind Trump’s Venezuela Regime Change Coalition
Weekend Edition
March 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Is Ilhan Omar Wrong…About Anything?
Kenn Orphan
Grieving in the Anthropocene
Jeffrey Kaye
On the Death of Guantanamo Detainee 10028
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
In Salinas, Puerto Rico, Vulnerable Americans Are Still Trapped in the Ruins Left by Hurricane Maria
Ben Debney
Christchurch, the White Victim Complex and Savage Capitalism
Eric Draitser
Did Dallas Police and Local Media Collude to Cover Up Terrorist Threats against Journalist Barrett Brown?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Straighten Up and Fly Right
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s $34 Trillion Deficit and Debt Bomb
David Rosen
America’s Puppet: Meet Juan Guaidó
Jason Hirthler
Annexing the Stars: Walcott, Rhodes, and Venezuela
Samantha M. - Angelica Perkins
Our Green New Deal
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s Nightmare Budget
Steven Colatrella
The 18th Brumaire of Just About Everybody: the Rise of Authoritarian Strongmen and How to Prevent and Reverse It
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Riding the Wild Bull of Nuclear Power
Michael K. Smith
Thirty Years Gone: Remembering “Cactus Ed”
Dean Baker
In Praise of Budget Deficits
Howard Lisnoff
Want Your Kids to Make it Big in the World of Elite Education in the U.S.?
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Foreign Policy is Based on Confrontation and Malevolence
John W. Whitehead
Pity the Nation: War Spending is Bankrupting America
Priti Gulati Cox
“Maria! Maria! It Was Maria That Destroyed Us!” The Human Story
Missy Comley Beattie
On Our Knees
Mike Garrity – Carole King
A Landscape Lewis and Clark Would Recognize is Under Threat
Robert Fantina
The Media-Created Front Runners
Tom Clifford
Bloody Sunday and the Charging of Soldier F